Bryce Canyon, Coral Pink Sands, and Capital Reef
Continuing our Caravan Adventure …..
In order to delay our arrival at the campground near Bryce Canyon, we decided to leave several hours later than the Wagonmaster (WM). After taking a hike from our campground through the Kaibab Forest on the Jacob Lake Trail, chatting with other caravaners for a while, then making a stop en route at the Pink Coral Sands Dune State Park we found, this time, we took a bit too long and ended up arriving at the next park well after the Tailgunner (TG). Sigh … we were going to figure this caravan driving/timing thing out eventually … we hoped!
Our trip log listed a possible stop at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and, since we were trying to take more time to get to the next campground so we would arrive after the WM was set up, we headed out the 12 miles on an old asphalt road. The sand dunes are created from the Navajo sandstone being blown by the winds that are funneled through a notch in the Moquith and Moccasin Mountains. The dunes shift and change over the year and create great opportunities to play in the sand. After a nice picnic lunch and quick hike about the park we headed back out on the road.
We finally made it to Ruby’s Inn and Campground in Bryce City, UT a little late but it certainly made for a nice break during the drive. This campground, Inn, and ketchy stores were built for the tourist industry as it is the closest town to Bryce Canyon.
The first day in Bryce, the tour had us booked for a trail ride down into the canyon. Jonathan got to ride a feisty mule by the name of Butch and Joanna got a much more gentle horse called PJ. This really was the best way to see all of the fantastic formations though a bit scary as we were riding on very narrow paths with lots of switchbacks. The evening found us at another campfire and travel brief and the group called for ghost stories so Joanna pulled out a few old favorites with a localized Hook urban legend and her own Loseley House Ghost story. The second day in Bryce the caravan had booked another bus tour, this one through Bryce Canyon, but we took a pass on it, and instead, did a few need chores and then we drove out to the park and toured it at our pace stopping at the overlooks. That evening was a scheduled dinner at Ebenezer’s Cowboy Dinner Show. The food was better than expected and the entertainment was good ol’ country.
After three nights in Bryce, we were off again traveling to Torrey, UT to see the Capital Reef National Park. Now the tour company chooses the route we are to take to each stop and this time they picked a whopper. Our GPS kept telling us that Highway 12 between Bryce and Torrey was not fit for large vehicles and we can tell you why! It is full of switchbacks, steep downgrades, and a drive across a hogback that was terrifying (at least for Joanna!). The en route stop this time was at the Anasazi Indian Village Museum. It was really cool to see the prehistoric village but this time all of the RV’s had to park on the side of the two lane road making it hard to stay long enough to fully explore the site. We had another travel brief and social as we would only be in Torrey for two nights.
The next day we were free to explore the Capital Reef which again had magnificent rock formation. We hiked up out to the Gooseneck overlook and then on up to Sunset Point. We saw ancient petroglyphs then went on to hike up to Hickman’s Bridge.
An odd side note is that on the hike up to Hickman’s Bridge we met another couple, taking a short rest break, as we climbed the rocks. Turns out Carla and David were from England and taking a self guided trip through the same area in the SW as we were traveling. We had a lovely chat and hiked together to the natural bridge. Little did we know we would meet them again (more on that later).
Next up Moab and Arches!